The first time I ever made foccaccia (I know I hate me a little bit, too), I couldn’t believe *how* much oil I needed to use.  So, what better way to use up those one, two, three jars of leftover sun-dried tomato or sweet roasted pepper oil?

Now this is no ‘five minutes to mix and one hour to rise’ breads; ideally you leave it to raise overnight, in the fridge.  If you’ve made bread a few times, it’s so worth it.  The recipe is adapted from Peter Reinhard, ‘The Bread Baker’s Apprentice’.  I love this book and if you’re interested in bread it’s worth the purchase.  My eldest brother gave me a copy as a gift – from one bread head to another.  Reinhart takes you through the processes involved in mixing, proofing, shaping and baking.

Foccacia isn’t always flavoured and I am no Anna del Conte but I do like to, sometimes, add a flavour.  Using flavoured oil from a leftover jar of sundried tomatoes just makes your life easier – you’re not making some!  As the oil is the most expensive ingredient in the recipe, you are saving yourself a load of cash!  And flour?  Well, about 50p – can you buy a supermarket focaccia for that?  Can you fuck.

As with all bread, it freezes really well so you can use up the oil if you’re worried it’s about to go off.

Fancy bread makes a cheap soup tea much more exciting so get busy with your sundried tomato oil and make sure there’s never a leftover leftover.

Leftover oil focaccia

Based on Peter Reinhard “The Bread Baker’s Apprentice’, pp159-163

Serves loads
Takes *overnight*


550 grams strong bread flour
Around 100 grams of plain flour for sprinkling
10 grams salt
5-7 grams of yeast (5 grams is fine if you use a tin of yeast; 1 packet of dried)
100 millilitres of oil from your leftover oil
If you have any leftover tomatoes/peppers/olives from your jar, them


Mixing bowl
Bowl for dipping your hands in
Large metal spoon
Tea towel, one that you don’t mind getting a little dirty
Scraper/dough scraper if you have one
Measuring jug
Baking tray – the size that you just use in your oven for anything …
Greaseproof paper
Chopping board and knife
Sieve, if you want to get little bits out of the oil


A few hours on and off for making the bread – not constant work but you need to be working from home/doing some chores and happy to dip in and out of doing
Overnight – 3 days prooving in the fridge

NB – this length of time is a GOOD thing!  Imagine – you maybe have some quiet time on Wednesday and friends coming for lunch on Sunday?!  See!


Sieve oil if you like
Chop the veggies into pieces around 2-3 cm


First step

Stir together the flour salt and yeast in a large mixing bowl
Add 50 ml of the oil and water and mix with the large metal spoon until you have a large, sticky ball
Dip your hands in the water bowl and mix, and shape the dough into a ball – this may be tricky AF but don’t worry too much

Time lapse session

Once an hour, for 6 hours, push the dough down and re-shape it into a round
The dough, after a while, will double after an hour; the gluten is working nicely when this happens

Sprinkle enough flour onto the side and scrape the dough onto the flour; dust liberally with flour and pat it into a rectangle
Wait 5 minutes for the dough to relax
Coat your hands with flour and stretch the dough from each end to twice its size
Fold it – bottom third to the middle and top half over the top
Dust with flour, replace the tea towel on the top and leave for 30 minutes

Time lapse session two

Do this, twice
Coat your hands with flour and stretch the dough from each end to twice its size
Fold it – bottom third to the middle and top half over the top

Then …
Let the covered dough ferment on the counter for 1 hour – it should get bigger, but may not double in size

Line your tin with baking paper
Drizzle 25ml of leftover sundried tomato oil onto the paper and spread it with your hands/pastry brush to cover the paper
Oil your hands with a little of the oil
Use a spatula or dough scraper to pull the dough, GENTLY, off your kitchen counter
Place gently onto the lined tray, trying to maintain the shape
Spoon over half of your remaining oil
Use your fingertips to dimple the dough and spread it to fill the pan
GO GENTLY -your fingertips, NOT the palms of your hand, otherwise you will rip the dough
Don’t worry about spreading the dough to fit every corner of the pan
Place any diced tomatoes/peppers/olives/even feta into the dimples

Loosley cover the pan with your tea towel and place in the fridge
Leave it from overnight – 3 days

Day of making
Remove the pan from the fridge 3 hours before baking
Drizzle over the last of the oil
Pop that tea towel right back on top and leave to prove for 3 hours

Preheat the oven to 200C
Place the pan in the oven
Lower the heat to 180C and bake for 10 minutes
Rotate the pan and bake for 5 more minutes – check it
Check it – if it’s light golden brown maybe leave for another 5

Remove the pan from the oven and shift it straight out of the pan and onto a cooling rack
If the paper is stuck, carefully remove it by lifting the corner of the bread and peeling it off the bottom with a gentle tug

Leave it to cool for at least 20minutes before slicing or serving

Storage/further meals

Slice and freeze

Got a question? Ingredient you need help with? Get in touch:

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